Friday, July 21, 2017

FARMACY: POST-EXERCISE SKINCARE


F A R M A C Y   |   P O S T - E X E R C I S E   S K I N C A R E
A guide to combatting not-so-glowy exercise-induced redness, breakouts, & dehydration  . . .



lthough some of us enjoy a glow after exercise, some others are more prone to breakouts caused by pores clogged with sweat & oil buildup. Whether it's an HBO-bum routine or an anti-workout regimen, sweat is inevitable. Clogged pores, on the other hand, are avoidable. As I train for a marathon in the hot humid hellfire that is Washington, D.C., here are the tips I follow to care for my skin as I care for my body with exercise . . .

Detoxify Your Skin

Exercise increases oxygenation & blood flow, heightening the benefits of a pre-exercise detoxification regimen. Before your workout, gently jumpstart this process by dry brushing your body. This sheds the skin of dead cells that clog pores, which can cause facial or back acne. It also invigorates the skin cells, allowing for greater circulation to release toxins through perspiration. The slight warming of the skin tissue that dry brushing generates also allows the muscles to relax, easing them into the demands of exercise. Grab a brush like this one, which is great for reaching harder parts such as the back, and follow these directions!

Avoid Makeup

This one might be a no-brainer for some but it's an uncomfortable challenge for many others who feel more comfortable in public with makeup on. As understandable as it is, having any makeup—from the full coverage foundation to a simple dab of under-eye concealer—can be a contributing factor to post-exercise induced pimples. As sweat drips down our face, it mixes with these ingredients along with the dead skin cells and sebum that already pose as comedogenic factors. 

Try facing the challenge of going makeup-free during exercise, which will not only allow your skin to perspire more freely but might surprisingly free you to gradually embrace your own skin as it is. 

Wash Your Face Immediately

The two things I immediately do after my runs is wash my face and stuff my face. As it's critical, especially for high-intensity or long trainings, to fuel within 20 minutes, I shower after I eat. However, I make sure to wash my face before I do so. I use a gentle cleanser, currently switching between this and this one. I love the foam of the former while the latter is infused with pearl powder to provide for softening & illumination. 

Cleanse, Calm, & Hydrate

If you sweat more profusely or are prone to clogged pores, incorporate a deeper cleansing to your post-workout skincare regimen. Double cleanse by washing your face first with a cleanser such as the two options above then an oil-based cleanser, such as this one. This will clear the sebum build-up more effectively. An oil-based cleanser might sound counter-intuitive in combatting oil, but the combination of oil to oil with water provides for the emulsion necessary to dissolve excess oil. It also reduces enlarged pores and redness, which those with rosacea or fair complexion can face post-exercise. 

Sweating dehydrates our skin, so a deeply-penetrating moisturiser that simultaneously lets the skin breathe is necessary. To allow for best absorption, follow your face wash with a spray of cult favourite thermal water, which will also provide rehydration and cooling, especially in the summer heat. Then spritz a calming toner or hydrosol such as a rose or lavender-based one to prepare the skin for and heighten the benefits of your serum & moisturiser. After your toner, pat on your water-based serum. I love this one, for which you can get 10% off if you follow this BFF link

For moisture, a light oil serum with calming ingredients like rosehip, liqourice, or zinc will create an optimal moisture balance. This Rosehip & Chamomile Calming Cream tames irritation caused by perspiration and reduces redness. 

Don't forget to also hydrate yourself from the inside out with water; coconut water; and whole foods with high water content such as cucumbers, radishes, electrolyte-balancing watermelon.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

THE GUIDE: 4 EASY TIPS FOR LUXURIOUS SLEEP


T H E   G U I D E |   4  E A S Y  T I P S   F O R   L U X U R I O U S   S L E E P
A guide to turning your bedroom into a lush sanctuary, from a high-vibe nighttime routine to between the laundered sheets . . .



Frothy Nightcap Tea Latté
Having a cup of this creamy tonic rather than dessert to cap off dinner will allow your body to quietly ease into eventual rest. It's main ingredient is passionflower, which is an herbal equivalent of a billet-doux to your brain. It induces a sense of tranquility, heightens compassion, and eases nervous tension. It's coupled with the power & earthy tones of rhodiola, another tension-taming adaptogen or herb that allows our body to adapt to daily stresses.

D I R E C T I O N S | To make, simply blend in a high-speed blender hot but not boiling ½ cup of brewed passionflower tea with ½ cup of coconut milk, a teaspoon of pink salt grass-fed ghee, ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of rhodiola, and stevia to taste! For extra creamy frothiness and indulgence, add a tablespoon of Tocos. This extraction of stabilised rice bran is high in vitamin E for an anti-aging and glowing skin boost.

Meditative Skincare
While I apply my nightly facial oil, I always make sure to perform a lymph drainage or simple face massage on my face, even if it's a few quick swipes. Here's a quick guide on how to perform it. I then put a second layer of lotion or oil on my lower legs, intentionally massaging from my toes up to my thighs. This is not only helpful in inducing sleep through skin contact and biofeedback but increases blood flow to allow the muscles to relax. This is especially essential for athletes such as myself or people who are on their feet all day.

Herbal Aid
There are some great natural sleep-aids that are sure to replace the toxic + dependance-forming generics out on the market. Most people do tout melatonin supplements, but melatonin is a hormone and, over time, can cause unwanted irregularities in some people. Some safer options that I take instead are valerian, skullcap, passionflower, and rhodiola.

 Laundered Linens
The easiest yet most impactful secret to creating an indulgent bedtime for me has been investing in linens and scents. We sleep in French linen sheets, often light up our favourite candles as we unplug, and enjoy decadent scents such as the dusky sensuality of this biodegradable & nontoxic Le Labo x Laundress detergent.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

BEAUTY BITES: INFUSED SWEETENERS


B E A U T Y   B I T E S  |  I N F U S E D   S W E E T E N E R S
On how to heighten the medicinal effects of herbs & deepen the flavour of sweeteners . . .


 I was first inspired to infuse sweeteners, mainly raw honey, by the Ayurvedic Medicine staple chyawanprash, a nutritive jam infused containing amalaki fruits and a multitude of herbs, ghee, sesame oil, and honey. The base is used as anupans or carriers for these herbs and fruits as the honey, ghee, and sesame oil function as yogavahis or catalytic agents that deliver the benefits deeper into the cells.


Despite its benefits ranging from the high concentration of anti-aging vitamin C in the amalaki to building digestive fire, chyawanprash or prash does contain sugar to preserve the potency of amalaki. Sesame oil is also a seed oil that is often high-processed, is often rancid from its light- and temperature-sensitive nature, and inflammatory due to its high (forty-one percent omega-6 (Polyunsaturated) fat content. Although it doesn't contain the traditional Ayurvedic herbs, Sun Potion's prash is a great refined sugar- and -oil free option.


The infused sweetener recipes below skip the oils and call for the infusion of various different herbs and flowers. You can use them to sweeten teas, baked goods, salads, marinade, or even serve it alongside charcuterie or cheese platters. Add the brain-fueling and satisfying smear of ghee whenever you'd like! They will function as vehicles to deliver stronger, medicinal doses of the herbs they contain, such as sore throat relief with sage.




I N G R E D I E N T S
8 ounces of sweetener, preferably raw or Manuka Honey
2 tablespoons of dried herbs of your choice, avoid fresh herbs as they can cause growth of Clostridium botulinum spores
Spices of your choice, such as vanilla powder, cinnamon stick, allspice, and nutmeg


D I R E C T I O N S
I. First, make sure that your container is sterile. You can do this by boiling the container and lid then scooping it out gently with tongs.

II. You can use a single herb or a combination, but I suggest using no more than three to not create an overwhelming flavour or dense sweetener. Divide the amount of herbs accordingly. So if you’re using two herbs, place a tablespoon of each into your sweetener.
III. Simply place your herbs along with spices if preferred at the bottom of your clean containers and stir with a wooden spoon or chopstick as metal spoons can scratch the container.
IV. Place the lid on and let it infuse for a week or two weeks for a more intense flavour.
V. When ready, strain the jar into a new, clean container. It can be stored indefinitely.


S U G G E S T I O N S
Vanilla-Cardamon 1 vanilla bean, halved and a tablespoon of crushed cardamom pods Vanilla-Orange 2 slices of dehydrated orange and 1 vanilla bean, halved Sage & Lemon Balm a tablespoon each of crushed dried sage and dried lemon balm leaves Rose 2 tablespoons of dried rose petals Espresso two tablespoons of dark-roasted coffee beans